Christine Selda

 

 Christine Selda Shala Yoga

 

My yoga is one of shamanic roots from the songs and bones of the earth, the mountains, and the medicine peoples. I have had the great honour of answering my vocational calling to teach yoga since 1998 and studying with many of the masters of yoga as we know them today: B.K.S. Iyengar, Pattabhi Jois, Sivananda, Geeta Iyengar, Dr. Karandikar, Swami Durgananda. As I journeyed deeper in the study of yoga, I have come to disentangle myself from all of these lineages. I am grateful for the experiences and teachings received and I am very consciously stepping away from old structures and pedagogies that possess within them patriarchy and violence against women, children, and boys. For my yoga to be in alignment with who I am and what I stand for, my positionality is post-lineage; by standing apart and groundless, with no lineage to lean on, I lean into my own work and hold steady here.

In the river of yoga, the openness of being guides my teaching. My classes are crafted to attend to the layers of the self, from the superficial to the deep, through the practices of singing, devotional contemplation, meditation, the studying of scriptures, embodied prayer, and breath. To embrace the full range of human potential and the ultimate freedom beyond duality and suffering, the play between the masculine and feminine as consciousness and light permeates my classes. My teacher is Shakti in her multiplicity of forms; always bringing me back to nature HerSelf.

I have been a voice for social justice since I was a teenager, and my work has always been about Stopping the Violence inside and out. I resonate deeply with an aspect of my career with the Howe Sound Women’s Centre Society, where I am the clinical supervisor for the children and youth PEACE counsellors. PEACE stands for Prevention, Education, Advocacy, Counselling, and Empowerment in Stopping the Violence Work. I teach in Arts, Health, and Society from primary schools to universities. I hold a Ph.D. in philosophy in which my dissertation was titled: The Women, The Artist, and the Yogini: An Arts-Based Phenomenological Study on Yoga and Expressive Arts with special attention to their political implications. My study revealed much of the #MeToo movement in yoga. I also wrote a thesis on shamanism and expressive arts. The pedagogy I pass forward is based on these three pillars of practice and philosophy: 1. Yoga 2. Shamanism 3. Expressive Arts. I continue to engage with the interplay between these methodologies of practice and social change.

I am part of the long line of women contributing to yoga by bringing it off the mat and into the world. My intent is to train safe teachers to work with underserved and marginalized populations. Being yoga and living yoga is the mission: I strive to do this with integrity. I pray that I can serve in some way.